POV: Point of View

Making Density Desirable

May 2015

Orange County, failing ‘housing scorecard,’ urged to build more homes was the headline on a recent feature in the Los Angeles Times citing the Orange County Business Council estimate that the county “faces a shortfall of 62,000 homes and apartments to meet the needs of its workforce.”


How will the need be met? “The future lives in the townhouse,” according to the article. There just isn’t enough open land anymore. Increasingly, there is demand for high-density infill housing solutions close to transportation and jobs.

In a region where demand for affordable housing has far outstripped supply designing for density is a key strategy and Withee Malcolm is actively working on several higher density, multifamily housing models in Orange County. Our smart approach is creating more opportunities for affordable housing, not just by maximizing the number of units on a site, but by increasing housing options for a diverse mix of populations. Design for density allows more affordable units to be included in developments which makes the housing itself more affordable.

Done right, density opens new avenues for design, enhances the experience of residents and enlivens communities. By offering ample access to daylight, views, green areas, roof decks, and orientations that allow for privacy, density can be designed in a way that makes it feel open and inviting, rather than the stereotype of being closed and confined. Whether for sale or for rent, market rate or affordable, the new housing models not only meet demand, they respond to the changing lifestyles and aspirations of today’s residents.

Collaborating with knowledgeable developers like Lennar, Taylor Morrison, Related California, Watt Companies, 360 Residential and Intracorp, across the county our projects include, most recently, live/work condos in Costa Mesa, townhomes in Garden Grove and San Clemente, and apartments in Irvine. We’re making density desirable.